Hobnobben Film Festival Preview
Jun14

Hobnobben Film Festival Preview

After an impressive inaugural year, the annual Hobnobben Film Festival is back and more eclectic than ever before. That’s a good thing too, because even more so than the year prior, the festival has such a generous offering for film buffs to devour and a handful of community based gatherings to stumble upon for those casually walking around downtown. Make no mistake about it – your June 15th through the 18th should be spent near and around the Main Street area to watch movies, celebrate the city, and experience one of the most unique film festivals in the entire region.   I was privileged to serve as a member of the 5 person jury for this year’s crop of movies, which altogether added up to 47 entries in every category except for the headlining “Eye-Opening” films. As someone who has seen just about all the festival has to offer, I have to say that you’re in for a treat. especially when you factor in all of the extra events Hobnobben has in store over the course of the weekend. Thursday night gives filmgoers a chance to meet and greet at the opening night gathering. Friday evening is be dedicated to Blocknobben in the Arts United Plaza featuring food trucks, local vendors, and live music. The night is capped off by an outdoor screening of the ’07 Coen Brother’s classic film, No Country for Old Men, accompanied by a live score. Saturday is the most loaded and diverse day of the weekend, featuring the Awards Ceremony at the Arts United Center as well as two Sound & Shadow Redux showings of classic silent films. As for the last day, there are four wide-ranging and well-received pictures to enjoy at the Cinema Center.   The festival program is available in digital format and can be downloaded at Hobnobben.org. Two breakouts from this year’s Sundance Film Festival – Dina and The Hero – both screen on Thursday and are must-sees for the weekend. I’d also recommend Lemon, One Week and a Day, and Lost in Paris. On Saturday afternoon there is the “Class Act” collection of student made short films, and they are a mightily impressive group. The same goes for the “Short Haul” and the “Hoosier Spirit Showcase.” Some of the very best entries in this year’s festival were short films either made locally, by up-and-coming talents, or from universities around the state. I’ll be reviewing the big “Eye-Opening” films on my personal website LoganBushey.com, but make sure to check out the smaller offerings on the schedule as well; some of them are truly outstanding.   If you happen to be downtown grabbing a meal on a patio or sharing a drink with friends,...

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Hobnobben Film Festival Review
Jun21

Hobnobben Film Festival Review

After 13 movies and a handful of other events, my time at the inaugural Hobnobben Film Festival came to a close Sunday evening. It was a long, full weekend made enjoyable by a bustling and energetic community of film lovers coming together to champion a shared passion for the movies. Cinema Center Executive Director Jonah Crismore noted “how far along we’ve come” on opening night. I couldn’t agree more. Independent theaters across the country are on a steep decline, but if you managed to make it out to Hobnobben this past weekend, you’d see that’s not the case in Fort Wayne. Before Thursday night’s showing, Bill Brown, President of the Downtown Improvement District, addressed the sold-out crowd. Brown talked about Cinema Center’s role in the resurgence of the area, as well as the importance of continued support for the city’s only locally run movie house. On his involvement with Hobnobben Brown said, “[Crismore] had me with Film Festival,” followed by the applause of everyone in the theater. You could hear and feel the outpouring of support. As is the case for any inaugural event, Hobnobben had a few minor hiccups that were swiftly and carefully fixed along the way. The voting process was incredibly awkward for passholders like myself during the first two days. Rather than cast a silent ballot, I was asked if I’d like to vote for each film upon exiting. Saying “no thanks” or “yes please” felt out-of-place. My biggest issue came down to the steep $200 price tag for festival passes (which granted access to any and all events). General admission tickets were $10 and the awards ceremony was $15. I saw as many films as time afforded me, but when you do the math, I basically paid an extra $55 to get into movies 20 minutes early even though that never mattered. Had I attended the most events possible over the course of the four days, the numbers still don’t add up. I was happy to pay though, especially considering the surprising quality of movies the Cinema Center was able to schedule through partnerships and outside sponsors. Crismore mentioned that he and his staff had traveled to other established festivals across the country to help build Hobnobben, particularly drawing inspiration from Michigan’s Traverse City Film Festival. What I think worked best about Fort Wayne’s first film festival is that it urged moviegoers to stay downtown and walk around. You could swing by the block party and try Mad Anthony Brewing’s very own Hobnobben Shandy (a welcome cool down in the weekend’s blistering heat). Friday night found moviegoers pulling up chairs at the Arts United Plaza for a free outdoor screening...

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Hobnobben Film Festival
Jun13

Hobnobben Film Festival

With a revitalized downtown movement and an emerging art culture, Fort Wayne’s first official film festival could not be arriving at a better time. Named Hobnobben after the word for mixing together socially, the festival sets out to represent the eclectic and diverse tastes that the Midwest has to offer. Award-winning independents, low-budget features, documentaries, shorts, locally produced work — there’s a little bit of something for everyone! Taking place from June 16th through the evening of the 19th, Hobnobben includes 29 different showings. The majority of the films will be shown at the Cinema Center, while others will be shown at the Parkview Physicians Group ArtsLab, the University of Saint Francis Arts Center, and the Arts United Center. Two separate showcases will highlight student work and productions from Indiana natives. There will be panels, discussions, and workshops for filmmakers, and that’s what makes the inaugural year so encouraging. The festival concludes in an awards ceremony on Saturday night in the ballroom of the USF Performing Arts Center. This is a festival that allows itself to be shaped and molded into whatever suits you best. Want to see 2015’s Palm d’Or winner from the lauded Cannes Film Festival? You’re in luck. Interested in seeing some television pilots? The hour-long Philo Fest at the ArtsLab is just for you. You can plan your night around seeing a different film each day. For Thursday, I’d suggest Other People, a story starring SNL alum Molly Shannon in a role that’s been getting rave reviews. Pencil in your Friday night to attend Lo and Behold, Reveries of a Connected World by acclaimed documentarian Werner Herzog. Saturday has the weekend’s biggest crop to choose from, but I’d steer attendees towards Little Men. And as for Sunday, your best bet to cap off the festival is Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The impressive schedule can be found in full on Hobnobben’s website. By keeping the festival centralized to the downtown area, Hobnobben hopes to draw in crowds from near and far not just to enjoy movies, but to really get out and explore the city. Fort Wayne has a lot to offer and the festival serves as a meeting point for residents to come together in an appreciation of the arts. So whether or not you’re a big movie buff doesn’t matter. Go see that foreign film that’s out of your comfort zone. Check out some of the fine work done by local students and filmmakers. Then afterwards, grab a bite to eat or stop in somewhere for a drink. True to its name, Hobnobben wants people to try new things and to go new places. It certainly seems to be off to a promising start. Hobnobben Film Festival June 16th-19th. Showtimes vary. Cinema...

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